Kerry phones Aoun to offer congratulations on presidential election


(WASHINGTON D.C.) – On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called President Michel Aoun to congratulate him on his election to the Lebanese presidency, according to the Lebanon’s National News Agency.

Kerry said he was glad the presidential vacuum was over, and promised the U.S. will maintain its support for the Lebanese army. He also urged for a speedy formation of a new government, according to state-run media.

Kerry’s message comes days after he voiced caution of electing Aoun to the presidency, and expressed uncertainty of the future of U.S.-Lebanon relations. But his phone call signaled hope for a peaceful, working relationship between the two leaders.

Aoun stressed the importance of maintaining U.S. assistance to the Lebanese army, and noted he hopes the U.S. will assist in the plight of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

“Reaching a quick political solution to the Syrian crisis will reflect positively on the situation in Lebanon,” he said. “This is especially in terms of finding a solution to the tragedy of displaced Syrians in Lebanon.”

Aoun was elected president on Monday after a 29-month stalemate, and an unlikely endorsement from former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.

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